Bilic explains decision to let Kevin Nolan leave West Ham, hails 'brilliant professional'

Slaven Bilic has discussed Kevin Nolan's exit from West Ham.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has told the club's official website that Kevin Nolan's exit has been in the pipeline for a while now.

Nolan, 33, left Upton Park earlier today after a mutual cancellation of his contract, allowing him to move on and join a new club - despite being captain at Upton Park.

Nolan even played against Bournemouth last weekend, but the midfielder is leaving East London as another pillar from the Sam Allardyce era comes tumbling down.

A 2011 signing from Newcastle United, Nolan hit 31 goals in 157 games for the Hammers, including 12 goals that helped fire West Ham to promotion in the 2011-12 season.

Over the last year or so, Nolan's influence at Upton Park has gradually diminished, and with the arrival of Dimitri Payet has made Nolan expendable.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's trip to Liverpool, manager Bilic told the club's official website that the process of letting Nolan leave has been going on for some time after a number of discussions between the concerned parties - and thanked Nolan for being a great professional.

"It was not only this week," said Bilic. "We had a few chats with Kevin, now he's leaving and I can only say a big thanks to him for the Club because he was a great captain and a great professional. Even in the short period I experienced working with him he was a brilliant professional, a hard worker and I wish him well on behalf of the staff, the players and the Club," he added.

Nolan is now a free agent, and he will no doubt be hoping to sign for a new club before Tuesday's transfer deadline - and if he signs for a Premier League team, he will be looking to get revenge on West Ham and score against them at some point this season.

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